Arts & CultureKiddie Dope

Six Pregnancy Hacks Every Woman Should Know

I’m not one to talk about myself in my own column, so I’ll make this quick: I’m pregnant. It’s something that’s been in the works for a while, but timing and biology (and maternity coverage) were not on our side. But in any event (and don’t get me started on the state of infertility treatments in the Athens area—that column is coming, too), it’s happening.

Since this isn’t my first ride on the carousel, I’ve been approaching this pregnancy with a more laissez-faire attitude and trying to recall all the things I stumbled upon the last time that actually worked—or, at least, sound good in retrospect—and apply them in practice this time. As a result, I’ve developed these key pregnancy hacks that I now pass along to you in the style of Buzzfeed.

Granted, I’m by no means an expert—I’m sure there are some of you on your third or fourth ride on this carousel, and you might have your own methods. I’d love some more ideas before I’m off this roller coaster!

6. Shop for clothes early and often.


Early in my first pregnancy, I remember standing in the dressing room of the Motherhood store holding a strap-on pillow that was supposed to simulate the eventual size of your stomach. I laughed—surely they’ve made a mistake. I can’t possibly get this big! As a result, I purchased the minimal amount of clothing, thinking I could squeeze into my regular clothes for months. But here’s the thing—at some point, much earlier than you expect, nothing will fit. You might be able to wiggle into something, but the last thing you want is to go to work feeling uncomfortable. Instead, buy clothes with stretchy waistbands before you need them, and then supplement your wardrobe every couple months (because at about month six you’re going to realize that you are wearing the same three or four outfits every week). Local consignment stores like ReBlossom are great for this, as are local Facebook groups or Craigslist, so you don’t bust your budget.

5. Get a cute short haircut.


This tip was unplanned but worked well. About a month before I found out I was pregnant, my hairdresser gave me a cute bob. I’d had long hair for years, so this was a bit of a departure, but I was OK with it. What I hadn’t figured, though, was how luscious your hair becomes in the first trimester. I’m now several months overdue for a haircut (and, trust me, will definitely get one before the baby arrives), but for now I’m enjoying the look.

4. Make your own sugar scrub.


To help mitigate the relentless urge to itch your growing midsection, I highly recommend you throw together some homemade sugar scrub. I happened upon some in a fancy soap store a few months ago and realized how much better my skin felt after using it—and how simple it was to make. Start with 2 cups of granulated sugar and mix in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of food-grade oil. (I prefer coconut oil that has been slightly warmed so it’s liquid, mixed with sunflower and/or olive.) Then add some drops of your favorite scented oil, like orange or vanilla. Mix and rub on your stretching skin in the shower. Ahh, relief!

3. Shop strategically for baby things.


The main thing you learn after bringing a newborn into your house is how simple they really are: Feed them, clothe them, change their diapers and give them a good place to sleep. For the first few months, all the stuff you need relates to those most basic necessities. Which is why this time around, my big purchases are strategic: car seats, a nice stroller, cloth diapers and breastfeeding supplies. Then, when you’re enjoying those first few months of babyhood, take your time to shop locally for the “stuff,” like a Bumbo seat (yes!) or one of those fancy playmats.

2. Learn how to breastfeed.


While learning to breastfeed isn’t really a “hack”—I mean, it should be pretty routine at this point—this tip reflects the amount of money we spent on formula after I went back to work. In the time since my first child was born, laws have been passed that require employers to provide a space for new moms to pump (hint: A bathroom doesn’t count!), but do your research into the logistics of pumping and storing before your time at home is up. Heck, even if you’re staying at home after the baby is born, you still need to learn how to have a meal out while juggling a nursing baby, so some education in advance, both in person and online, is essential.

1. Control the nesting urges.


I may or may not have removed a portion of a wall as part of an effort to find more space in my house for the baby. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS. While it was immensely satisfying to see the amount of untapped space on the second floor of my house, my husband is now silently freaking out about the cost of this expansion. So, rather than give your partner a coronary, start to collect baby clothes at about month six and, when you feel jittery about the baby’s arrival, spend time quietly folding and organizing them. I realized I got the same sense of satisfaction knowing I had a place for a changing table, diapers and clothes (on the first floor of my house) as I did using a reciprocating saw to cut through a wall on the second floor. And no messy lines of credit were needed. Yet.